Sadly, I missed the Toronto
International Film Festival this past September
because I wasn't capable of standing in line for
more than ten minutes (the
damn plantar fasciitis and patellofemoral syndromeyep,
still!). Plus, If you have trouble with your knees
you'll know how uncomfortable it can be to sit
with them bent for any length of time. But I've
still been going to the movies; I just fidget
like CRAZY throughout, straightening my legs every
fifteen minutes or so. Let me apologize here for
anyone I might've driven bonkers (I swear I typically
try to pick an otherwise empty row) with my cinema-restlessness!
But what I really want to
say is that Australian end of the world flick
Final Hours is exactly the kind of gem I go
to the festival to discover, a film you otherwise
might miss because it doesn't have a big budget,
a wide-release or tons of promotional $ behind
What it does have going for
it are wonderfully convincing performances from
Nathan Phillips (James) and Angourie Rice (Rose)
as its central characters and a compelling plotline
which begins with the destruction of Western Europe
and North Americaafter the Atlantic is hit
by a meteorand is destined to end with the
frying of Australia in twelve hours' time.
Our setting is Perth, Western Australia
looking every inch the last outpost of a fast-vanishing
civilization. As the film kicks into gear, society
rapidly unspooling, James's only plan for the
end of the world is to face the moment out of
his head so he won't feel the pain of annihilation.
But en route to his own personal oblivion, James
stumbles upon a situation he can't ignore, rescuing
Rose from reprobate abductors.
With the clock ticking down a lifetime
shrinks down to hours. As James deals with the
hardest questions, we are forced to ponder them
ourselves. How do we say goodbye? At the very
end, who and what still matters?
If you admired Miracle Mile
and Melancholia and are intrigued by the
idea of a film that plays like the flipside of
On the Beach, These Final Hours
is for you, an entirely realistic but not heartless
rendering of the end of life on our planet seen
through the eyes of one man.
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